From: Don Winterstein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu May 15 2003 - 02:21:25 EDT
Re: Guilt by association
Burgy wrote in part:
> One reason (not the only one) that I favor my [Progressive Creationist] position over yours is that I
> see in God an entity who likes to create, and so I see him "playing the
> universe" over time much as a skilled musician might play a violin. I think
> he had a lot of fun with the dinosaurs, but then decided to try something
> quite different.
Howard Van Till responded:
"Yes, I know that you (and other good Christian folk) prefer the "Fiddling Creator" model (sorry, I couldn't resist that one :) for divine creative action. But I see that approach as opening the door to the sort of theological problems that George has often articulated on this list. Furthermore, if the natures of God and the universe are such that God is both able and willing to overpower the creaturely system in that way, why did God not choose to intervene (fiddle) to eliminate the Bubonic Plague, the Lisbon earthquake, or the more than 300 tornadoes that wreaked such devastation last week? "
To which Burgy responded in part:
>I don't know anyone who has a good answer to the natural disasters of the Lisbon earthquake....
Well, this may not be a good answer, but at least it's simple and straightforward:
I'm firmly in the Fiddler camp. I believe God wants to give the world as much freedom as possible to develop in the ways it prefers, but the world has always been recalcitrant and, left to itself, will always go in directions that, if not modified, will thwart God's goals. In other words, "sin" is built into the world, it's in the nature of the world; sin didn't originate with humans. (Neither did death.) So God from time to time needs to step in to make course corrections. The Bible tells us that God has operated within recorded history by intervening from time to time. Plausibly it is how he has operated for the last 13.7 billion years or so.
So why doesn't God step in to shield people from calamity? Well, why doesn't he step in to keep people from ever getting sick, or ever suffering from accidents, or having birth defects? And then why doesn't God make everybody rich and famous?
Answer: The Fiddler is goal-oriented, and he intervenes to advance his causes or to eliminate threats to the realization of his goals. In his sight the natural disasters, etc., that people suffer are simply a part of the unfolding cosmos game. They in no way threaten the realization of his long-term objectives. One of his objectives is to give the world as much freedom as possible, so to put up special hedges to protect people would violate his own objective.
"...Those 18 who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? ...No! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." Jesus basically just says we should learn what the game is and follow its rules. He doesn't say the game is defective.
Scientists have advanced wholly naturalistic plausibility arguments that appear to account in principle for how we all came into existence, but they have no proof that it was even possible for us to come into existence in the way they specify. The plausibility arguments remain nothing more than plausibility arguments. Those scientists can never prove that God's fiddling wasn't necessary to get the observed outcomes. Christians who hold to the Fiddler model can therefore never be shaken by science. Christians may not be able to prove God fiddled, but no one can prove he didn't.
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